Importance of Wearing a Helmet

For the love of whatever you believe in, your family, your friends, and/or yourself, wear a helmet!

As an avid cyclist I would most likely be dead a few times over if I didn’t wear my helmet. I have also had to visit the Emergency Room more than once due to various accidents that I have had both preventable and not. You never know what is going to happen but by wearing a helmet you are taking a reasonable precaution to prevent injury.

While it is true that you can’t be prepared to prevent every injury out there, there is one major thing that you can protect. Your brain bucket. Our daily activities all have inherent risk and you are certainly taking more of a risk by pursuing physical activity. I have put countless hours in at The Crossings and Hudson River Bicycle Path, only to see several people or families who are riding their bicycles at a leisurely pace without a helmet. While it is true riding on a bicycle path, or a quiet neighborhood, your risk of say getting hit by a vehicle is much lower, there are still potential problems that could arise. All it takes is one fall and landing the wrong way on your head to do potentially senseless irreversible damage to your brain.

With traumatic brain injuries it’s not just the initial impact that is the issue. There is something called Coup-Contrecoup brain injury. For simplistic purposes, let’s say a person’s forehead hits the ground, the brain would then slam into the front of the skull causing bruising and eventually swelling, then since the brain is like jello inside of mold, it then slams into the back of the skull causing bruising and eventually swelling there as well. The next problem becomes when the brain swells it has nowhere to go which causes a whole new host of issues.

A helmet is designed to absorb the impact and break apart at the same time helping to dissipate the energy that would normally be transferred to the person. I’ve had a bicycle completely fall apart while I was riding it, hit by a car, and pedals malfunction all causing me to go to the ground striking my head. I have the scars to prove a few of the injuries but at least I still have my life. I love getting out there and riding my bicycle, so I won’t let these incidents stop me and I certainly won’t stop wearing my helmet.

Hopefully we see each other on the bike trail and not because of a preventable tragic accident.